What’s the difference between osteopathy and physiotherapy?

General health, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy

Person with sore back

In pain and discomfort? You may be wondering what the difference is between osteopathy and physiotherapy, and which one is better for you. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two treatments and help you decide which one is right for you.

Both osteopathy and physiotherapy treat musculoskeletal pain and use hands-on treatments. In addition, osteopaths and physiotherapists both train extensively in anatomy, physiology and pathology. Here at our Cambridgeshire clinic, our osteopaths and physiotherapists also focus on supporting their patients to help themselves through diet and lifestyle advice.

Osteopathy or physiotherapy – what’s the difference?

Osteopaths work with the structure and function of the body as an interconnected, self-healing system. Osteopathic treatment focuses on correcting disturbances with this system, whether caused (by among many things) muscle weakness/imbalance and/or tension, restricted joint movements, poor posture or working practices. Given that each body is viewed as being unique, treatment is tailored to the individual not the symptom(s).

Osteopathic diagnosis¬†and treatment is around 90% ‘hands-on’. The techniques employed by our osteopaths, Claire and Faustine, include physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase joint mobility, relieve muscle tension, enhance blood and nerve supply and to support the body to heal itself. They may also offer lifestyle and postural advice, exercises and stretches

Physiotherapists focus on movement and exercise, and use a variety of techniques to improve movement, strength, and flexibility to the particular problem area, supporting a patient’s capacity to move and function.

The treatment is less ‘hands-on’ as greater emphasis is made on observing movement and correcting technique. Our physiotherapist, Annemette, may include in her treatment soft tissue techniques, such as massage and passive joint movements (movements initiated and controlled by the physiotherapist), to more extensive rehabilitation exercise programs. She will also often advise on lifestyle changes, such as posture and work practices, to help relieve pain and discomfort.

Should I choose physiotherapy or osteopathy?

At our Cambridgeshire clinic we have a trained physiotherapist and two osteopaths Between the team, we hold a broad range of experience, assessment and treatment skills.

As a unique individual, the choice is down to your own needs and aims for treatment. All our therapists encourage you to be an active participant in your treatment plan. We work with you as a team.

If you are unsure which one would be best for you, why not give us a call on 01954 214473 to ask a few questions?